The Right to Remain Silent After Abortion
“I don’t understand why women aren’t flooding onto platforms to share their abortion truth, Sydna,” a male pro-life leader declared during a long ago phone conversation. “I’m angry that you aren’t pushing women to take a stand against abortion when you know what it cost you!”
I responded, pointing out the obvious, “Which dark secret sin – like fornication or adultery – are you going to share on that platform first to encourage us to speak? Post abortive women have the right to remain silent.”
I ended the conversation as the leader’s rage seemed directed at me personally, despite the fact that I’ve shared my abortion truth publicly for many years. His goals were entirely political while mine involved compassion and outreach.
If one third of all American women have experienced abortion, why is it that so few speak publicly about this choice? Does post-abortive silence mean women are delighted about their abortion? Or does it outline the overwhelming trauma we endured that is impossible to vocalize?
Post-Abortive silence is a form of self-defense. Anything we say about this choice can and will be used against us at various levels of society. Overhearing conversations that spout vague obscenities about us reinforce our stance to never share this truth.
Memories of shouting protesters that taunted us as “murderers” outside the abortion clinic obliterates any reliance for those who stand against abortion. Recollections of our typically traumatizing moments inside the clinic demolishes any confidence in pro-choice forces as well. We are left in a quagmire of silence, not knowing whom to trust.
Abortion truths remain locked away in the deepest sanctuary of a woman’s heart, encircled by numerous other lies required to maintain this secret. Abortion façades are often designed to simply ensure the family name remains respected in a community.
Abortion concealment is often rehearsed to ensure no physical reaction if the term is discussed in our presence. We can stand in both pro-choice and pro-life settings and maintain our silent reverie.
As one of the first women to share my abortion truth publicly on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast in 1992, I know the costs of being public about this sin. Dr. James Dobson offered me confidentiality at that time but that would have diminished the presentation’s goal. Sharing my name allowed women the opportunity to talk to me directly.
The result of being identified by my abortion was a revival among post-abortive hearts. God’s healing restored many hearts, allowing them to live as better wives, mothers, sisters and friends. Yet even with the healing, few joined me in speaking publicly. My ongoing public sacrifice of sharing this secret was enough to release them from such a task.
Sadly, my mother suffered great agony when I came out of the closet about this choice publicly. “You are telling the world I was a bad mother!” she responded.
While my mother never knew I was pregnant, my choice was a source of shame to her. By sharing my name, I sacrificed her dignity. You see, my abortion secret belonged to my entire family, not just myself.
Family sins are often covered up by abortion so scandals are averted. As time passes, more lies are offered to conceal this choice making a heavy layered argument for silence.
Yet there is a difference between a private and public confession. 1 John 1:9 outlines, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Confession to God from the deepest part of your heart is the first step in healing abortion’s pain. I’m happy that God’s purifying process doesn’t necessarily involve a public admission of such sin.
God knows our hearts and each sin we have committed. When we come to the point of surrendering to His mercy and grace, we can begin God’s purifying process. Abortion recovery programs, available through pregnancy centers and some local churches, are designed to help that process. What these programs don’t do is prepare women for the public confession.
God’s healing process doesn’t necessarily include the requirement of full public disclosure. While a public testimony may be God’s plan for a person’s life in the future, the healing process must come first. The large majority of post-abortive women may never publicly speak due to a variety of variables, the most being God isn’t leading them to do so. Don’t pressure anyone to share before God is leading them.
If you have experienced abortion, please know God holds the keys to that silent sanctuary in your heart that houses all your secret sin. There may be many other sins locked away there that are related to your abortion. God can unlock that door and set you free from the bondage of any and all sin. By asking for His help in prayer, your healing can begin. As your heart becomes stronger in understanding His loving grace, He will lead you specifically. If I can help, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].
For those who are frustrated or angry with post-abortive silence, James 5:9 outlines, Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!